Monday, January 21, 2008

Bracketology 101's Field of 65 - Jan. 21

The Breakdown
After one of the craziest, upset-filled weeks in a long, long time, there were a ton of changes in terms of teams and seeds in this week’s bracket. In all, 15 teams in the AP Top 25 lost at least one game last week, and the 48 teams previously seeded on our 1-12 lines lost an incredible 37 games combined. As we seeded teams this week, it became very apparent that, thanks to all of those losses, there wasn’t a whole lot of difference in some cases between teams on the four line and others way down on the 10 line.

In the end, though, several key changes were made throughout the bracket. Stunning home losses by UCLA and North Carolina, who looks very out-of-snyc right now, finally knocked both of them down to the two line and bumped up Tennessee and Duke, who were both able to do the impossible and put together two quality wins this week. UCLA and UNC were joined on the two line by Michigan State, who replaced struggling Texas A&M.

The 11 and 12 lines of the bracket proved to be just as fluid. The most notable change was the addition of Cleveland State who, fresh off its home upset of Butler, makes its debut this week. Not only were we impressed with the Vikings’ performance against the Bulldogs on Thursday, but we love the fact that it gave CSU a two-game lead over Butler in conference, and thus gave them a huge leg up in the race to get home court advantage in the Horizon conference tourney. The other fresh face to the Field of 65 is Purdue, who won at Iowa and home against Illinois this week to improve to 13-5 overall and 4-1 in conference. It took us a while to decide between Purdue and suddenly relevant Mississippi State for this final at-large spot, but in the end we went with the Boilermakers for several reasons. Purdue has better wins overall (Louisville, Ohio State), plus the Boilers have a better OOC resume. Mississippi State, who hosts Mississippi in a ginormous game this week, has only beaten five teams with an above-.500 record so far and still has no wins over teams currently in our bracket. Considering where the rest of the teams in each conference are seeded, we also like the Big Ten as a five-bid league more than we like the SEC as a five-bid league at this point.

Purdue ended up taking the place of UConn, who despite a nice win at home against Marquette on Sunday, also lost big at home last week to Providence. That loss left the Huskies’ as the ninth best team resume-wise out of the Big East, which has them for the moment on the outside looking in. Joining UConn on the wrong side of the bubble are bracket dropouts Arkansas, California, and Nebraska (remember them?), who all lost two games last week.

Out This Bracket
Arkansas, California, Connecticut, BYU, Nebraska, Sam Houston State, Holy Cross, IUPUI, Arkansas-Pine Bluff

In This Bracket
Massachusetts, Providence, Purdue, San Diego State, Cleveland State, Stephen F. Austin, Oral Roberts, Bucknell, Alabama State

Last Four In
Florida, Virginia, Illinois State, Purdue

Last Four Out
Connecticut, Mississippi State, Boston College, North Carolina State

Next Four Out
USC, Arkansas, Creighton, California


Conference Breakdown
Big East (8), Big XII (6), Pac-10 (6), ACC (5), Big Ten (5), A-10 (4), SEC (4), Horizon (2), MVC (2), WCC (2)

America East - UMBC

ACC - Duke, North Carolina, Clemson, Miami-FL, Virginia

Atlantic Sun - Jacksonville

A-10 - Xavier, Dayton, Rhode Island, Massachusetts

Big East - Georgetown, Pittsburgh, Marquette, Villanova, West Virginia, Notre Dame, Louisville, Providence

Big Sky - Northern Arizona

Big South - Winthrop

Big Ten - Michigan State, Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio State, Purdue

Big 12 - Kansas, Texas, Texas A&M, Baylor, Kansas State, Oklahoma

Big West - Cal State Northridge

Colonial - VCU

C-USA - Memphis

Horizon - Cleveland State, Butler

Ivy - Cornell

MAAC - Siena

MAC - Kent State

MEAC - Hampton

MVC - Drake, Illinois State

MWC - San Diego State

Northeast - Wagner

Ohio Valley - Austin Peay

Pac-10 - UCLA, Washington State, Stanford, Arizona State, Arizona, Oregon

Patriot - Bucknell

SEC - Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Mississippi, Florida

- Davidson

Southland - Stephen F. Austin

Summit - Oral Roberts

Sun Belt - South Alabama

SWAC - Alabama State

WAC - Utah State

WCC - St. Mary's, Gonzaga


The Seeds
The 1s

Memphis, Kansas, Tennessee, Duke

The 2s
North Carolina, Washington State, UCLA, Michigan State

The 3s
Wisconsin, Texas, Indiana, Georgetown

The 4s
Pittsburgh, Xavier, Dayton, Vanderbilt

The 5s
Texas A&M, Mississippi, St. Mary’s, Butler

The 6s
Clemson, Marquette, Stanford, Drake

The 7s
Villanova, Gonzaga, Arizona State, Kansas State

The 8s
West Virginia, Rhode Island, Baylor, Oklahoma

The 9s
Arizona, Notre Dame, Louisville, Oregon

The 10s
Massachusetts, Miami-FL, Ohio State, Providence

The 11s
Florida, San Diego State, Virginia, Illinois State

The 12s
Purdue, Cleveland State, Kent State, South Alabama

The 13s
VCU, Cal State Northridge, Davidson, Utah State

The 14s
Siena, Stephen F. Austin, Oral Roberts, Winthrop

The 15s
Cornell, Northern Arizona, Bucknell, Hampton

The 16s
UMBC, Wagner, Jacksonville, Austin Peay (Play-In Game), Alabama State (Play-In Game)

The Bracket
(Bracket courtesy Matt Reeves)

Questions? Comments? E-mail Bracketology 101 at


andy22burns said...

How can the ACC and Big10 get the same number of teams when the ACC so clearly dominated in the ACC-Big10 challenge? The ACC is the number one ranked conference statictically, but everybody keeps only giving them 5 teams because the league is so deep that its hard for teams to clearly distinguish themselves.

Bracketology 101 said...

There is no doubt that the ACC is a better league than the Big Ten. Five bids is the minimum that the ACC will get and if things break right for the conference over the next month and a half then they could get seven bids (we have 2 ACC teams as our last 4 out). Five bids for the Big Ten is pretty much a ceiling. The biggest problem with the ACC teams (besides Duke and UNC) is that none of them really did anything very special out of conference. And the teams who are closest to getting a bid from the ACC had some very bad losses (NC St. - New Orleans and @ E. Carolina; BC - Robert Morris; Maryland - American)

Anonymous said...

Just have a quick question. If MD beats Duke at home this Sunday, giving them back to back wins over 2 top 5 teams, would that put them into the bracket next week? I understand they had some horrible losses early in the season, but people have to understand that they lost their top 3 players from last year's team, and it took a while for this group made up of mainly freshman and sophomores to gel, but i think a win over duke this weekend, proves they're a tourney team

Bracketology 101 said...

You're right about Maryland - they have improved by leaps and bounds over where they were in early December, when then lost back-to-back home games to Ohio and American. Their young players have steadily matured and become legitimate offensive weapons, and as a group they've helped the Terps play some tournament-caliber ball over the last few weeks. If they could beat Duke on Sunday (which is very possible) it would put them in a very good position to make next week's field (a lot also depends on how the 10-12 seeds do this week). At worst, they would make an appearance on the Last Four Out list.

hoya-saxa said...

Oh waaaaa... The ACC, please. Pitt showed Duke who's boss. The Big East is the toughest conference and always has the most bids. Talk about teams beating each other up. I don't want to hear it that in the ACC "its [sic] hard for teams to clearly distinguish themslevs."

Mikey Y said...

I'm not so sure that the ACC is better than the big ten.

At the bottom of both conferences it is a no doubter that the ACC is better.

But if you put the top 5 ACC vs the top 5 Big ten.

NC vs Indiana edge NC
Duke vs MSU edge Duke
Wisconsin vs Clemson edge Wis
Purdue vs Maryland? edge Purdue
Ohio State vs Boston College? edge OSU

aside from Duke, NC and clemson the ACC is looking pretty mediocre. Whereas the big ten has 2 elite teams and 3 very good teams.

Anonymous said...

Being an FSU fan, and knowing their trend over the past few years, they'll do just what they can to not get invited to the Big Dance. After a recent 3 loss ACC skid, Florida State finally defeated UVA last night to bring their record to 2-3,13-7. Assuming they defeat NC State at home Saturday and finish with an 8-8,19-11 record. Would they get in? They have a couple of good wins so far against UF (on the road) and Minnesota, and a very strong strength of schedule. But would that be enough?

Bracketology 101 said...

If you look at it seed-wise, here's how the Big Ten-ACC debate shapes up. The Big Ten is better at the top (with three Top 3 seeds), but the ACC is better at the bottom. Both leagues have five bids right now, but unlike the Big Ten, the ACC has three more teams that have shown the potential to be bid-worthy as well (BC, NC State, and Maryland). The Big Ten barely got a fifth team, Purdue, in this week, and as of now, no other Big Ten team is even being looked at for a potential spot in the field.

Mikey Y said...

When the season is over, the big ten will have 5 teams in the dance. Purdue won't be a bubble team by years end they will be a lock. Minnesota is a longshot.

In the ACC i'm sure one of the teams will win enough games to get 6 teams in. But does anyone really think that NC State, Miami FL, and Boston College are legitimate tourney teams?

I would expect Duke, NC, Clemson in for sure.
But the group of BC,Miami Maryland,VaTech,Virginia,FSU,NC State will not have more than 3 teams in. They will be playing each other for spots during the regular season.

Bracketology 101 said...

You're probably right, Mikey. If we had to bet, we'd say that in the end the Big Ten gets five bids and the ACC gets six.

Bracketology 101 said...

FSU could get in at 8-8, but it all depends who those eight wins are against. The biggest negative on FSU's resume right now is that they have zero Top 50 wins (Florida, the 'Noles best win, currently sits 54th and their next bets, Georgia Tech, is at 69). Their second biggest negative is that they have just one decent road win. If FSU fans don't want to be disappointed on Selection Sunday yet again, they better hope their team beats North Carolina or (at the very least) Clemson at home and then picks up a couple big wins on the road as part of an 8-8 finish.

Bracketology 101 said...

One more quick thing on FSU...

Anonymous' math was a little off on the 'Noles. An 8-8 finish would leave them at 19-12 for the year, not 19-11. A presumed loss in the ACC tournament would give FSU 13 losses on the year - a number that could scare off some committee members.

Anonymous said...

I completely agree. In my opinion, a UNC win with an 8-8 conference record and a couple of road wins sprinkled in equals a bid. A home win over Clemson and a couple of decent road wins (i.e. Maryland, Miami, VT, etc) I think will earn strong consideration. Anything less, and it's hello NIT... again.